Saturday marked day three of Spring practice for the Bulldogs. The weather was perfect outside, and the team looked fresh and ready to be wearing pads. After the first full week of spring practice here are four takeaways.
After the first three practices, the quarterback duel is still in full swing. Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm both seem to be getting equal reps at the position. Of course, Eason appears to be taking first team snaps and Fromm second team, but the competition is clearly there.
Eason’s looked sharp all week long and seemed to be taking over that primary leadership role. The other players are looking for him to take that role, and he is embracing it. He struggled a bit on Thursday, but on Saturday his throws looked accurate and impressive. Eason was in the zone, and it showed. Fromm also had a good week for his first spring practice in college. He wasn’t as accurate as Eason, but he looks to be catching onto the program’s ways.
As for the wide receivers, as a group looked solid. However, there was a couple that stood out. Jeremiah Holloman didn’t drop a pass that I saw and just is so physical. Terry Godwin, Jayson Stanley, and Michael Chigbu all had their moments but struggled a bit during Saturday’s practice. They each dropped passes and had difficulties with the various routes. Coach Coley and Coach Chaney emphasized with the wide outs to make sure they knew to pay attention to their footwork and technique. Mecole Hardman and Isaac Nauta worked with the receivers today as well.
The offensive line looks to be adjusting from losing three starters. I noticed that Isaiah Wynn was at left tackle mostly, and he told us that he weighs 305 now. Dyshon Sims, Lamont Gillard, Solomon Kindley, Aulden Bynum all rotated on the line, and that seems to be what Sam Pittman is his line. However, I did see Ben Cleveland, D’Marcus Hayes, and Kendall Baker getting some good reps in during the drills I saw.
Defensive shapes up:
As for the defensive side of things, the defense looks lean, mean and ready to play football. Julian Rochester and Jonathan Ledbetter are two that stood out to me. Rochester looks like he’s lost a few pounds, but he looks a lot quicker off of the snap and stronger. As for Ledbetter, it seems he’s gained weight, and he looks a lot more aggressive off of the snap.
Davin Bellamy worked with the defensive line today, and Chauncey Manac joined that position group also. Coach Scott had high praise for John Atkins while we watched them during a few drills. Scott is fiery, but takes the time to teach technique. Scott and Coach Smart emphasized to the d-line that it was all about being fluid, having that toughness and the endurance to win individual battles. The two pushed the topic of being fluid at the point of attack. Watching Scott and Smart work together seemed to be a perfect match. They flowed with each other, and it was clear Scott is all about Smart’s way and program decisions.
The defensive backs also got some good practice in too. Young guys, Richard Lecounte III and DeAngelo Gibbs both ran drills with the veterans and seemed just to fit right in. While watching them, it almost seemed hard to decipher who was the freshman and who was the upperclassman. Those two are going to make an impact and quickly.
The Smart Way:
One thing that stood out the most was how Coach Smart involved himself into the drills. Every drill I watched, Smart popped up and gave his opinion. He was giving the receivers advice on how this is the time to get better and get in shape, not next fall. Smart also jumped in, helping the defensive line and the defensive backs. He even made a stop in the offensive line area to give some feedback. Smart tried to be involved with every aspect of the practice. The tenacity and grit that he shows with each position reflect his vision for the program.
Smart made sure to fix mistakes and not wait until after the drill was over to change it. He just made sure the players knew he was watching closely.
Sum it up:
The first week of spring practice was one for the books. Jacob Eason threw some of the best we’ve seen since the beginning of camp. Jeremiah Holloman took a stance early, and the defense just looks mean. The rest of spring practice will be interesting once everyone gets the feel of their position(s). There should be exciting competition on G-Day.